In mid September, the sea kayaking club arranges a paddle from Sandridge to Williamstown for a close up view of some tall ships anchored in Hobsons Bay.
There is a perception that, being the new girl, I am nervous. Well I am, now its been pointed out. In the distance, Williamstown takes shape surprisingly quickly and it’s amazing how quickly we approach the western shore of Hobsons Bay.
At anchor, is the Oosterschelde, the Lord Nelson and a couple of others, all of which I’m sure must look great under full sail. I’m not sure what I was expecting but to be honest, it’s a little underwhelming. After all, it is billed as the Melbourne International Tall Ship Festival. But I can’t but help think back to Hobart in 1988 at the time time of the bicentennial when the harbour was choked with ships from all over the world.
The kayaks weave in and out of yachts and then edge close to the hulls of the tall ships. Day visitors peer at us over the side, while crew climb high up the rigging, balanced and sure-footed.
The paddle circumnavigates the Williamstown docks, around the tall ships, then back across the channel to Port Melbourne for morning tea, finishing at Sandridge. For me, the highlight of the day is crossing the shipping channel. Hardly Bass Strait but the currents surge and retreat, opposing and yielding. It feels like the real sea: deep and moving and resistant. A rare glimpse into the Bay.